- Silicon Valley venture capitalist Reid Hoffman apologised Wednesday following reports that he donated $US750,000 to a group linked to a project which used misinformation tactics on social media during the 2017 Alabama special election.
- Hoffman, a vocal Democratic supporter, said he wasn’t aware of the group’s misinformation project.
- The project involved creating a Facebook page aimed at conservative Alabamians as part of an effort to divide the party.
Linkedin co-founder and Greylock Partner’s investor Reid Hoffman apologised Wednesday for funding a group linked to a misinformation campaign during Alabama’s 2017 special election for the US Senate.
It was the first time that Hoffman, a prominent Silicon Valley billionaire, acknowledged his donation to the group, called American Engagement Technologies, or AET.
AET allegedly funded another project, called New Knowledge, which used social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to boost support for Democrat Doug Jones in his ultimately successful campaign against Republican Roy Moore.
Hoffman donated $US750,000 to AET, according to the Washington Post, who first reported Hoffman’s statement Wednesday.
Hoffman, a vocal democratic donor, said in the statement that he was not aware of the group’s work with New Knowledge before it was reported last week.
“I find the tactics that have been recently reported highly disturbing. For that reason, I am embarrassed by my failure to track AET – the organisation I did support – more diligently as it made its own decisions to perhaps fund projects that I would reject,” Hoffman said in the statement.
Hoffman’s apology comes one week after the New York Times reported details of the project, known as Project Birmingham.
Project Birmingham involved creating Facebook pages aimed at conservative Alabamians, according to the Times. The page was used to try to divide Republicans and encouraged them to endorse a write-in candidate. It also involved a scheme to link Moore to Russian bots, according to the Times.
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